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Boykin Spaniel: South Carolina's Star

Boykin Spaniel: South Carolina's Star

Critter Culture Staff



The Boykin spaniel is a true American dog, first developed in South Carolina in the 20th century. This modern dog breed is a moderate-sized, born hunter, and an intelligent and loving family dog. They're bigger than a cocker spaniel but not overwhelming in size, measuring between 14 to 18 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 25 and 40 pounds.


This breed was South Carolina's best-kept secret.

For years, Boykin spaniels were only known in South Carolina. They were then discovered by the rest of the world, who fell in love with their eagerness to please and loving, calm demeanor. They are the official state dog of South Carolina, which celebrates Boykin Spaniel Day every year on September 1.

south carolina breed BestSide / Getty Images


They make great family pets

Boykin spaniels are friendly and outgoing, and they love being a part of a close family. They make the transition from pet to hunting companion seamlessly, which is one of the things that makes them so attractive to hunters. They have the stamina to spend the day hunting and will curl up next to you on the couch at the end of a long day.

great family pet David Williamson / Getty Images


This breed is easy to train

Boykins are pretty easy to train because they are both intelligent and eager to please. Although they love their families and are content spending time with them, puppy training and socialization classes are recommended to make sure they grow up well-mannered. This is especially important with younger children in the home.

training pleasant adjusted redsidephoto / Getty Images


Boykin spaniels need a lot of activity

This breed was made to hunt, and they have the stamina and energy to prove it. Boykin spaniels need a lot of daily exercise and are best suited for an active family. If you're not a hunter, these dogs would be equally as happy to join you on a run, hike, or bike ride. Without enough exercise, they become anxious and can get destructive.

activity run exercise BestSide / Getty Images


They do very well at sporting competitions

The Boykin spaniel is energetic, responsive to training, and loves to please, making them an excellent match for sporting competitions. They excel in many categories, including obedience, agility, tracking, field events, and more. Plus, this is an excellent bonding activity for the owner and the dog, and a great way to strengthen the bond between them.

competition sporting dog David Williamson / Getty Images


They have a distinctive coat

Boykin Spaniel sitting on pavement

The Boykin spaniel has a distinct double coat that ranges from flat to wavy. The undercoat is short and dense, while the outer coat is longer. They often have some fringe along the ears, chest, belly, and legs. The most common fur color is deep liver red, but it can also be various shades of brown. If the Boykin spaniel spends a lot of time outdoors, the coat may lighten from the sun.


Grooming is surprisingly straightforward

Boykin spaniel lying on spaniel

Although they have a medium-length coat, grooming a Boykin spaniel is pretty straightforward. Brush them weekly to remove dirt and any shedding hair. They don't need to be bathed often, but they may need a quick wash more frequently if they spend a lot of time outside. Check their paws regularly, too, to check for any injuries from twigs, rocks, and anything else they might have picked up exploring the great outdoors.


They are curious but communicative

Boykin spaniel puppy posing in from of the ocean at an empty beach

Boykin spaniels are curious, which can get them in trouble. They love to swim and have a nose for wandering, often following the scent of something they see as prey. Boykin spaniels often look to their owners to learn what is expected of them, but they wander off if they aren't on a leash.


This health breed can live as long as 16 years

Boykin Spaniel

Boykin spaniels can live for 16 years, though they are prone to some health conditions. These include juvenile cataracts and hip dysplasia. Boykins may also experience exercise-induced collapse if they wear themselves out during physical activity. This dog is also at risk of developing ear infections, and regular care and inspections are necessary.


Boykin spaniels can live in an apartment, with careful management

A Boykin spaniel getting rest

Boykin spaniels are energetic dogs, but they can do okay in an apartment under certain circumstances. Because they love being around their family so much, they cope well in a smaller space as long as the owner is very careful to make sure the dog's exercise needs are met every day. If not, an apartment environment will not work for this breed.


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